PM May to talk to Trump on suspected chemical attack in Syria

Audrey Hill
April 11, 2018

Donald Trump has said an apparent poison gas attack in Syria will be "met forcefully" hours after Russian Federation warned U.S. military action could cause "grave repercussions".

The assessment also suggested that a never agent was used in the suspected poison attack, but further evidence was needed to determine the type of agent, United States government sources told the news agency.

In response, Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of waging a "shadow war" against US forces in Syria.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he is outraged by Syria's apparent chemical weapons use against civilians.

"But we can't let atrocities like we all witnessed ... we can't let that happen in our world ... especially when we're able to because of the power of the United States, the power of our country, we're able to stop it", Trump said.

Trump has spoken with other world leaders, and other U.S. officials say the U.S., France and Britain have been in extensive consultations about launching a military strike as early as week's end.

"We are studying the situation extremely closely, we are meeting with our military and everybody else and we'll be making some major decisions over the next 24 to 48 hours".

"What Russia is trying to do, it strikes me, Mr President, is to turn the debate in this Council away from a discussion of the use of chemical weapons into a dispute between East and West, presenting itself as the victim".

Assad regime forces struck targets in the Damascus suburb's Douma district on Saturday midnight using a poisonous gas, which left at least 78 civilians dead, according to the White Helmets, a local civil defense agency.

A White House statement said Trump and May "agreed not to allow the use of chemical weapons to continue".

"If it's Russian Federation, if it's Syria, if it's Iran, if it's all of them together, we'll figure it out", he said. Russian Federation said there is no evidence Syria carried out such an attack.

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Asked if the United Kingdom would join any US-led military action in Syria, Mrs May said during a visit to Sweden: "What we are now doing is working urgently with our allies to assess what has happened here". The U.S. said the 2017 strike was meant to deter Syria from further use of chemical weapons.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Mr Trump will not attend the Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru or travel to Bogota, Colombia as planned.

One US official told CNN that the White House will most likely coordinate with France on a potential response, as there are concerns Prime Minister May wouldn't receive approval from the UK Parliament for strikes.

Every Summit of the Americas, a gathering of heads of state organized by the Organization of American States (OAS), has been attended by a USA president since the first gathering in 1994.

Trump said the USA is still working to determine who is directly responsible for the attack, which was widely publicized in recent days after graphic on the ground footage of victims was shown around the world.

Pence "will expand the regional coalition against Venezuela's dictatorship and demonstrate why the USA should remain Latin America's economic partner of choice", Quintana said. A Navy destroyer, the USS Donald Cook, was underway in the eastern Mediterranean after completing a port call in Cyprus.

The latest Syrian chemical attack occurred on Saturday, but it was only after images of children and adults who appeared to be foaming at the mouth began circulating that Trump seemed moved to respond. The guided missile destroyer is armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, the weapon of choice in a US attack one year ago on an airfield in Syria after a sarin gas attack on civilians.

Ali Akbar Velayati, an aide to Iran's supreme leader, made his comments upon arrival in the Syrian capital on Tuesday. At least 40 people were killed and hundreds more were injured. "At the same time, OPCW's Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Uzumcu, has considered the deployment of a Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) team to Douma to establish facts surrounding these allegations", the statement reads.

Iran is one of President Bashar Assad's strongest backers and has sent thousands of Iran-backed gunmen to back his forces.

Russia, Iran and Syria have blamed Israel for Monday's attack on the T4 air base in the central province of Homs that a Syria war monitor said killed 14 people, including Iranians.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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